Sports | Anorak - Part 253

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Sports news, commentary and scores with wit and added value. We compare and contrast the best and worst sports reporting in the mainstream press, blogs, TV and online. We love the English Premier League (Arsenal, Liverpool, Spurs, Manchester United and Manchester City) and all things football but we cover cricket, rugby, the Olympics, tennis, golf, F1 and highlights of the sporting year.

Casino: Aspinalls And The Whale

FOUAD al-Zayat is nicknamed The Fat Man. He is a “whale”. We have no picture to hand of Syrian-born Mr al-Zayat and cannot say if this nom-de-guerre is founded on fact or irony.

But he is in the news. In spring of this year the High Court ruled that Mr al-Zayat must pay his gambling losses to London private members’ club Aspinalls.

Mr al-Zayat has been a customer of Aspinalls. In more than 600 visits, he bought £91m worth of gaming chips. He has lost more than £23m of them.

Mr al-Zayat was less than pleased with the ruling. The story goes that he stopped a cheque over a game which he thought unfair. He had asked that the croupier at his blackjack table be changed. He was told there was nobody else available. He later found this to be untrue. He owed £2million. He had written a cheque for the amount. And was then displeased enough to have the cheque stopped.

Al-Zayat claims the cheque was undated. He returned to the club and went on to lose over £10million over the next couple of years.

Aspinalls made limited attempts to recover the £2m until three days before the six-year validity of a cheque would have expired. Mr Zayat claimed that by not moving faster on the cheque, the club had broken the law against giving credit for gambling.

Lord Justice Sedley says: “Aspinalls, instead of burning their bridges with Mr al-Zayat by suing him on his cheque, permitted him for another six years to go on gambling so that he could lose millions more pounds to them. Then, at the last permissible minute, they sued him.”

Lord Justice Sedley says the matter “reflects no credit on either of them”. No pun intended…

Posted: 23rd, October 2007 | In: Sports | Comment

Casino: San Antonio Police Find that Crime Pays

SAYS WSOP bracelet holder Richard Lee: “I’m glad it’s over,” and added “Now I need to go win another poker tournament.”

Lee, who won $2.8 million at the 2006 WSOP main event, has not just been trapped in a room for seven hours with Phil Hellmuth. Nothing so terrible. Lee had been facing bookmaking charges in San Antonio, Texas. The police in that locale frown upon online gambling. And last month Lee and four partners were charged with promoting gambling for running a website on which they collected bets.

The SA police considered Lee the bookmaker and his home the base of an online betting operation.

Lee has now agreed to a plea deal to a lesser charge of keeping a place for gambling. He has agreed to hand over $2.2 million in alleged poker earnings.

First Assistant District Attorney Cliff Herberg says: “In Texas, gambling is a misdemeanor, but when you hit them in the pocketbook, that’s where it hurts. The misdemeanor doesn’t hurt as much as the loss of all the ill-gotten gains.”

That’ll learn ‘em. Crime does not pay. So where does the money go from such skulduggery?

As reported. most likely, half will go to the San Antonio Police Department while the other stays in the DA’s office for salaries, equipment and other law enforcement purpose.

Good to see no-one profits from “ill-gotten gains”.

Posted: 18th, October 2007 | In: Sports | Comment (1)